Tax time equals scam time - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Tax time equals scam time

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Beware of tax scams. Local tax consultants describe a true call from the IRS. Beware of tax scams. Local tax consultants describe a true call from the IRS.
Tax scams happen year-round. But with the April 15th filing deadline just a week away, we're hearing about several incidents.

For instance, scammers calling residents in Lakewood claiming to be from the IRS. Someone actually filing phony returns using the social security numbers of several residents in Westlake.

In the Westlake cases, four people told police someone filed a tax return in their name using their social security numbers.

The IRS is investigating those incidents.

Police in Lakewood said late last month someone called several residents claiming to be from the IRS and demanding direct payments for taxes. One woman told police the caller even threatened her family.

"I've had several people come in here and say the IRS just called me," mentioned Rachel Ruffing from Liberty Tax Service in Lakewood .

She said she's had clients who've received similar calls from scammers. 

She offered one simple tip, "The number one rule is the IRS will not call you.  They are 98% strictly by mail. They do not send emails and they do not make phone calls. So, if you're going to get a correspondence, you are going to get it through the mail."

Police said the Lakewood residents who were preyed on didn't send any money to the callers.

Ruffing described what a typical, legitimate message from the IRS will sound like.

"It's not going to be 'Pay your taxes now or, you know, the police we're coming after you.'  It's going to be, 'You have 30 days to respond.'  There's a process for everything," she cleared up any confusion. 

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